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The Delaware County Democratic Party is calling on Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio legislative leaders and Delaware County commissioners to join the party in its declaration of racism as a public health crisis and enacting equity in all state and county policies and practices.

The party passed the resolution during their monthly Executive Committee meeting on July 23, 2020. With overwhelming support, racism was recognized as disenfranchising unfairly specific individuals and communities while giving unfair advantages to other individuals and communities.  The resolution in part states that “structural and systemic racism is embedded and entrenched in every aspect of our nation declaring unequivocally that racism is a public health crisis.” 

The declaration goes on to state that racism weakens society because it impedes a community’s ability to maximize the strengths and potential contributions of all available human resources.  Systemic racism has proven to perpetuate poverty by impeding economic mobility and compromises a community’s health outcomes by limiting access to quality, affordable health care and nutrition. 

Racism has also proven to economically disenfranchise minorities by limiting housing and employment opportunities while propping up a criminal justice system that incarcerates minorities at a much higher frequency.

Andre Washington, co-chair of the ad hoc committee tasked to draft this resolution and longtime member, stated that he is encouraged by the county’s growing diversity and how it’s represented in party membership.

“Our membership represents a rich cross-section of our communities with participants of various ages, races, faith traditions, types of families, educational backgrounds and economic statuses,” Washington said. He added that equity and fairness across the board would make our communities even stronger.

Racism in America has long been a serious problem since our nation’s inception. Peg Watkins, chair of  the Delaware County Democratic Party, said national awareness of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has energized civil rights leaders and their supporters to demand meaningful change.  

“What happened to George Floyd was a public lynching in front of civilian witnesses who helplessly watched for eight minutes and 46 seconds as a police officer killed him,” Watkins said. “Those present were no doubt fearful of getting so involved they might be accused of interfering with police business and could be subjected to dire consequences themselves.”

Other entities that are addressing the issue of systemic racism as a public health crisis in their communities include Franklin County Commissioners, Columbus City Council, Westerville City Council, Cleveland City Council, Akron City Council, Summit County Commissioners, Toledo City Council, Lucas County Commissioners and the Hamilton County Commissioners. 

The full resolution may be found here.